by Tim Lezard TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has given her backing to today’s NHS strikers. Visiting the picket line at St Pancras Hospital in Camden, she said: “NHS staff are always reluctant strikers – there hasn’t been a national strike over …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, GMB, UCATT, UK unions, Unison, Unite,

Frances TUCby Tim Lezard

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has given her backing to today’s NHS strikers.

Visiting the picket line at St Pancras Hospital in Camden, she said: “NHS staff are always reluctant strikers – there hasn’t been a national strike over pay in the health service since 1982 – and they will do everything they can to protect patients in their care. But morale has hit rock-bottom. Even the Royal College of Midwives, which has have never been on strike, is taking action today.

“Not only have NHS staff faced year-on-year cuts in the relative value of their pay, ministers have turned down the recommendations of the independent pay review body, even though it called for an affordable, below-inflation pay rise.

“It is no surprise that the NHS is finding it hard to recruit and retain staff as they find themselves squeezed between falling living standards and covering up for NHS cuts.

“But NHS workers are not the only employees who do not understand why ministers are using the fruits of recovery to fund tax cuts for their rich supporters, while everyone else faces a continuing squeeze in their standard of living.

“This is why tens of thousands of workers will be joining the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration this Saturday.”

Members of seven unions are taking part in today’s four-hour strike: GMB, the Hospital Association of Occupational Therapists, Managers in Partnership, RCM, UCATT, Unite and UNISON. For the rest of the week the unions will be taking part in action short of a strike which involves staff taking their proper breaks and only working their contracted hours. They will be joined in this action by the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association. Next Monday (20 October) the SoR will be taking part in strike action for four hours from 9am.

Members of PCS are taking strike action on Wednesday.

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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